She Wanted Better Lash Extensions, So She Made Her Own -- and Then Built an International Franchise With more than 180 locations, the founders share their secrets to success.
That old adage that beauty is pain? Jessica Le doesn't buy it. After suffering through a costly four-hour eyelash-extension procedure in 2010, Le, a cosmetology graduate, set out to build a better system. Eventually she developed four lightweight lash styles that could be applied quickly using a minimal amount of adhesive -- taking just one hour of work, and costing less than $100. Along with her husband, Edward, she opened the first Amazing Lash Studio later that year. By 2013 the couple was operating three locations in the Houston area and set out to franchise. Today they have more than 180 locations across the U.S., opening between four and 10 new franchises every month. The key to success, as Jessica sees it, is to keep innovating, keep educating franchisees and keep giving customers more for less.
What did you do after that four-hour eyelash application, when you thought there had to be a better way to do this?
Jessica: I took a training class to figure out how the process worked, and afterward started testing and coming up with my own technique. It took months of practice.
Edward: In 2010, getting lash extensions was a service for the rich and famous. Jessica understood that being in a salon for hours -- especially for women who have kids -- just wasn't feasible. She came up with a faster, safer process and patented the method.
What was it like getting the brand off the ground?
Edward: The challenge was how to become a leader in the industry. We weren't the first, but we wanted to become the best-known eyelash company in the country. We had to build our own infrastructure, and for two people who don't have experience with franchising, I think we did a good job. We private-label our own products. We developed back-end software for our franchisees to help them more easily build their businesses, providing a checklist to help them along the way. We wanted them to know they weren't going into the business alone.
Especially in beauty, trends come and go pretty rapidly. How are you making sure this brand has long-term success in the market?
Jessica: Every year there's something new in beauty. I know that as founders, we're always thinking about how to take Amazing Lash to the next level. We started with individual lashes, and now we offer volume lashes, which is a new technology everyone wants to try, and we've again come up with our own technique and taught our franchisees. I'm also always thinking about how we can help people in our community. I want women to feel good about themselves, and I also want to make sure we're creating a lot of jobs. So it's about staying on top of trends in the industry and making sure we're always building, on both the professional and the consumer sides.
How do you identify franchisees who will be a good fit with Amazing Lash?
Edward: We are always looking for someone who understands that they are coming in here to work with us. We want people with a passion for beauty -- some potential franchisees come in for meetings and already have lashes on. That is what we're looking for. Jessica didn't build this just to make money; she wants to provide beauty to every woman.